The Balcony Club

May 14, 2014 -

John Heald

We have the dome closed here on the Carnival Miracle and it gives guests a chance to use the pool and stay warm as we cruise the Alaskan waters and the guests really appreciate the covered deck for sure. The only problem with this is that you can’t do too much with live music because if I put the live four-piece band, Music Unlimited, there or one of the soloists or even the DJ, the music echoes and makes even the lowest sound levels become amplified and, honestly, it sounds awful. So most of the time, we have background music on there as we sail through the glaciers and the amazing scenery that Alaska provides. So last week on our sea day, I walked onto Lido Deck and saw people reading, relaxing and looking out of the windows and they were doing all of that to some kind of hip-hopping drum and bass Lady Gabeiber music. ……. while we cruised Alaskan waters. Oh FFS. I was not a happy chap. So after waterboarding a few staff members, I told them to please change the background music. They asked me, “To what” and I said ummmm ………………ummmmm……………….ummmmmm.

I honestly couldn’t think of what music was suitable. Now, when we are in Glacier Bay, we are not allowed any music at all and the same goes for the Alaskan ports but, on sea days, we can …..but what? Dee, my personal assistant, suggested Peruvian Pan Pipes saying it was “super relaxing, eh?”…..she’s Canadian. “How about bollocks,” I replied. That kind of music may be OK if you are having a massage or are suffering from a particularly nasty case of constipation and you need to breathe through your pain before your next push…….but, in Alaska, on a Carnival ship………nope………it doesn’t work.

So then, what music should we play there? Here is a thought– do we need any music at all?

It’s hard to find a place to relax where there isn’t some sort of music playing. What’s wrong with relaxing in silence? Does everything have to have a soundtrack? On a ship in the Caribbean, yes, I agree we must have more Caribbean music and this subject, as you know, has been well discussed and, we will, soon. But in Alaska, under the dome roof, do we need any music at all? Maybe not, but the wrong sort of music is even worse.

So, here is my question. You are in Alaska, the scenery outside is breathtaking and you are sitting under the dome reading 50 Shades of Grey on your Kinldlepad. Do you want music and, if so……….what music should I play? We haven’t got this quite right yet and I need your help.

Time for today’s Q and A………… we go.

Terri Schaefer asks:
My husband and I are traveling on the repositioning cruise for the Carnival Pride from Tampa in March with another couple. My husband and I are platinum members but our friends are not. Are we allowed to bring a guest couple to the captain’s lounge once we check in so that we can all board the ship together or should we get our keys and meet them in the lounge and board from their waiting area? What should we do so that we can board together?

John says: 

Hello Terry Schaefer

Thanks for writing and the simple answer to that questions is no. I am afraid they will have to board after you. You see, we already have Diamond, Platinum and Faster to the Fun guests in the VIP room, so we cannot allow others to board early. However, they will not be far behind you and, once on board, you will meet up and the fun will begin. I hope you have a brilliant time and if there is anything else I can do, please let me know. Best wishes.


Mark Izod asks: 

Hey!!!! How about getting us PLATINUM VIPS reserved seats on the tender?! The ship was the Carnival Dream and we got priority tender service when someone led us down to the tender but it was full. We had to stand all the way from the ship to the pier in the Caymans. Not good enough, bad planning, Carnival. Royal Caribbean gives us Diamonds reserved seats at every show too, just so you know.

John says:

Hello Mark Izod

I agree that if we are going to give our Platinum guests and Diamond guests VIP tender priority, then we should have made sure there were seats. I think though that the staff wanted to make sure that you were able to get on that tender which, judging by what you said, was ready to leave and they didn’t want you to have to wait. It is a good thing that it’s not too far to the pier from the ship. But, I will pass this onto the cruise director on the ship so he is aware. We have no plans to add reserved seating at the shows but certainly the loyalty program is being reviewed as we approach its two year anniversary. Thanks for your loyalty and I hope we see you soon.

Hector Nassari asks:
Heald, all this fuss about chocolate melting cake, awards and adulation. I am a chef de cuisine at a top restaurant in Flint, Michigan. Tried this famous cake on our cruise on Carnival Valor last week and it was ****. The sauce was too thick and the chocolate had no taste and was too mushy. Now I am not all bad, so I asked Joseph, the head waiter, if I could go into the kitchen and show the head chef the secret to making this better but I was refused. What got me mad was the chef never even came to the table to meet with me which, I must say, in our profession is unheard of and a big slap in the face to me. That’s my view on the chocolate melting cake – also have views on other dishes but this is the main point.

John says:

Hello Hector Nassari

Thank you, chef, for taking the time to write. I am sure that our head chef on the Carnival Valor did not mean any disrespect by not visiting you and, unfortunately, as much as he may have wanted to learn from your experience, there are certain insurance and safety rules, I am sure, that would have not allowed a guest behind the lines while the galley is in full operation. Thank you for your comments on the chocolate melting cake. It certainly remains a winner with thousands of our guests each week and, for those who do not like it, we, of course, have options. I hope you had a great time on the cruise and that we see you soon. Best wishes.


Colin Thomson asks:
I am going on the Carnival Conquest on Aug.17, 14. It will be cruise #7 for me with Carnival. I was on the Carnival Breeze last Jan. To say it was amazing would be an understatement. My question is, Who will be the CD & what are the shows? Keep up the good work! Cheers.

John says:          

Hello Colin Thomson

I am very glad to see that you had fun on your cruise and I am sure the cruise on the Carnival Conquest will be just as good or even better. The shows there are The Brits, Studio VIP, Divas and Latin Nights. The cruise director was just confirmed as of today, actually, and will be Gary Brierly. Have a brilliant time and please let me know if you need anything. Best wishes.


Janet Kroll asks:
I have a complaint from our cruise. We are just off the Carnival Liberty and the people in the cabin next to us cabin **** had two kids.The oldest was about 11 years old and the youngest looked about six or seven maybe. The parents would go out drinking and gambling but leave these kids unsupervised until sometimes after 11pm. They screamed and banged around and had the TV loud and we could not sleep. I spoke with my brother, who is a New Jersey state trooper, and he told me that this is child neglect and they would have been arrested… My husband called security every night and nothing was done to force the parents to be in the cabin with them. We were offered a different cabin but why should we have to move? Carnival needs to do something!!! Booking on Liberty ******. Cabin ****

John says:

Hello Janet Kroll

I am sorry to see you were disturbed by this and I can understand your frustration. I can’t agree that this was really “child neglect” but, again, as we do not have a specific rule about this, it is something the parents have to decide if they are comfortable with. I am also sure that if you called security that they would have spoken with the parents accordingly. Once again, I am very sorry this happened and I will make sure it is passed to the right people. Best wishes.


Cindy Brown asks:
John: Is there any way to reward or recognize one of your personal vacation planners? Your PVP, Mark Curler, has planned my cruises for several years now and always does an outstanding job. I have referred numerous friends and family to book through him and they always rave about how great he is. He has even called me after a cruise just to see how everyone liked it or if we enjoyed a new area of the ship. Please let us know how I can send him something in appreciation for all the hard work he does for us. He just finished booking 10 cabins for my family and friends for the week of Thanksgiving, several of which have never cruised Carnival before, and he made the process very easy for everyone.

John says:

Hello Cindy Brown

Consider it done and I shall pass this to his immediate supervisors so he gets the recognition he deserves. It was very kind of you to write and please let me know if there is anything I can do for. Thanks again and hope to see you soon. Best wishes.


William Pethan asks:

John, don’t take this personally but what do you tip the scales at?!!!!! 290, 300 pounds?????

I am asking for your benefit, John Trust me, it is for you, John Heald, that I ask because on July 29, 2015, myself, my wife and eight friends will be with you for the Alaskan cruise from Seattle on the beautiful Miracle. I want just 30 minutes of your time because I have something that will change your life FOREVER, John Heald, and after those 30 minutes, you will never be the same again. I have a friend whose name is FENPHEDRA and it helped me lose 88 POUNDS IN just 5 months, I say 88 pounds in 5 months. It is the cure, John, to what I did suffer from and what I know you suffer from each day– that inner sadness and hatred you have of yourself for getting to be obese. But FENPHEDRA is the answer and I believe in this so much, now I sell this life changer for a living. I sell to my friends and people who I know need help, people like you.

My wife, Trina, and I will be in cabin **** so please can we meet maybe straight away so we can get you on the road to feeling brand new and, as you say, brilliant? LOL. Your life is about to change, John Heald, and we are all going to have an awesome time together.

John says:

Hello William Pethan

You are very kind to think of me like this and may I wish you many congratulations on your weight loss. I am actually just under 250 pounds but have 50-plus to go, for sure, but I need to do this my way, slowly and carefully. I hope you understand, therefore, that while I will enjoy meeting you and shaking your hand, I won’t need any of the Fenphendra. If there is anything I can do for you and your group, please let me know. Best wishes to all.


Christy Fuller asks:
Hello. My husband and I are sailing June 7 on the Carnival Breeze. Loved the ship and CD, Butch, last July so we booked again! We are celebrating our 25th Anniversary. I see people ask you for “stuff” all the time on here, so I thought I would too. 🙂 Love Carnival and looking forward to another great vacation!

John says:

Hello Christy

I am sure this time will be even better and if you can please send me this note again on my Facebook page at and I will see if we can do something for you. Have a great time. Best wishes.


Simon Jarrett asks:
You may be worshipped like some cruise God here but someone has spilled the beans because you don’t write your Facebook page. Another lie, then, Heald. Links 5 and 6 show what your customers think of you.

John says:

Hello Simon Jarrett

Thanks so much for passing this on. Having read this (I wish I hadn’t), I realised that I needed to reply just to set the record straight. Normally, I do not post Cruise Critic links but, in my own defense, I thought I would make an exception. I am well aware of what Pine Bluff and a few others think of me. I must say, I found what Miss EZ4 said to be hilarious – sorry, Miss Easy, it really is my Facebook page and is not ghost written by Mary and Mischelle. They are though a brilliant help when it comes to things like rates and booking concerns because my knowledge of those kinds of things is limited at best and so their help is extremely valuable. But every post is written by me, Miss EZ4, me and only me…………although we both now use the word “bugger” in everyday life. But to Pine Bluff and the other three EZ Wanderers, well, I can only hope that you will sail with me one day and allow me the chance to prove that I am really not that bad of a guy. But until then, I apologise if they think I have led them astray and wish them a brilliant, brilliant day. Best wishes.


Harland Westmoreland asks:
May 2013, my wife and I and another couple cruised on the Carnival Magic …great time! In October, we again cruised on Carnival Magic…another great time but the shows were the same as in May. The couple we cruised with last May just got back from a cruise on Magic. They told us the shows were still the same. My wife and I are booked on Magic for Nov 2nd…do you recon the shows will have changed by then? Thanks

John says:

Hello Harland Westmoreland

It seems you enjoy the Carnival Magic and that’s great news because she is a wonderful ship. We cannot change shows too often, not only do they cost a lot of money to change, but they can only be changed in a dry dock environment. Moving huge set pieces and scenery and bringing in new pieces along with lighting the shows and teaching the cast needs to be done while there are no guests on board and the lounge can be closed. So the three main shows will be the same but you will see different comedians and variety acts. Carnival Magic has a dry dock next year, so let’s see if she will get new shows then and, of course, I will keep you informed. I wish you a wonderful cruise and if there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. Best wishes.


Carol Blue asks:
Just wanted to say that I love your blog, but my absolutely favorite parts are the messages/emails from guest services. It invariably makes me smile to read some of the real comments guests
make, and how you respond to them. Please keep on posting the guest services comments … I, for one, LOVE them. Thanks for doing what you do, John.

John says:

Hello Carol Blue

That is very kind of you and, certainly, it never gets dull or boring working on a cruise ship. I hope you continue to enjoy reading my musings here and on Facebook and hope to see you soon.

Best wishes.


And that’s all for today.

So we have started a new cruise and here is who is with us and where we are going:

Total Guests                                       2,058

USA                                                    1,810

Canada                                                            27

French Canadians                               15

Australia                                             9

UK                                                      48

India                                                    14

Taiwan                                                            8

Montana                                              3

Service Dogs                                      1

Guests Under 18                                 60

Diamond Guests                                 7

Platinum Guests                                 154

Just before I continue, I wanted to address…………………..this;

Ed Reynolds

John, wondering why you put the Canadians and French Canadians on a separate billing on your blog today? It is one country, you know? Thanks, John.

Hello Ed

I thought it important to point out again that the reason I write “French Canadian” is that we receive this in our international breakdown because they request French-speaking Fun Times, menus and other translated material. Best wishes.


Here is where they are going:

May 13                        Seattle                                     departure         4:00pm

May 14                        Sea Day and Elegant night

May 15                        Sitka, Alaska                          7:00am – 8:30pm

May 16                        Juneau, Alaska                        10:00am – 10:00pm

May 17                        Cruise Glacier Bay

May 18                        Ketchikan, Alaska                  7:00am – 2:30pm

May 19                        Sea Day                                  

May 20                        Seattle                                     7:00am

Challenges this cruise include having to tender guests ashore in Sitka and four other ships joining us in Juneau. I learned lots of lessons last cruise– the biggest being that I am not allowed to make announcements on the open decks while in an Alaskan port or in the waterways and glaciers. If I do so again, someone in sandals and a high visibility jacket will tie me to a tree and attach barnacles to my dangly bits.

But I also learned that guests who cruise in Alaska really do want fun and really don’t go to bed at 9pm with a copy of National Geographic Magazine and cup of hot chocolate. They like live music, late comedy shows and fun and that’s what I will do my best to give them this season.

Oh and the excursions………………the excursions are brilliant. These are ports where, if you just pop downtown, buy a T-shirt and come back again to the ship, well, you will regret that forever. Seeing Alaska is not just walking into town– it’s helicopter adventures, whale watching, train riding to the Yukon, sea plane flying, crab fishing, crab eating, bear spotting and so much more. Alaska is truly incomparable.

There must be times when some of you think that what I write here is pure fiction. Yet, it’s not, apart from the times I tell you how a girl found me attractive or I can see my gentleman’s sausage without the use of a mirror. The rest though…….is absolutely true.

Living on a ship is like living in a small town and, what you get in a small town, you definitely get on the ship. So let me then tell you about what happened just now………I mean……….just now. It had been a long day and I had just finished hosting the Welcome Aboard show and I decided to be terribly naughty and pop outside to the balcony for a cigar before bed and enjoy the night air. It is a beautiful night, calm seas, not too much wind, not too cold and, as I sat in my chair and lit the end of my Montecristo, I closed my eyes to relax. It was perfect, the sea, the stars, the aroma of a fine cigar and a wolf howling from the cabin below me ……………….. what?! Yep, a wolf, which was joined on deck 7 by a hyena, and all of Old McDonald’s sodding farm. Yep, it was a first night spot of rumpy pumpy for the guests in cabin 7*** and I, unfortunately, had a front row seat.

But I couldn’t bear to listen as it made me feel a bit uncomfortable, to say the least. Plus, my cigar cost $20 and there was no way I was going to waste it, so I grabbed my headphones and my eyepad and watched an episode of The Walking Dead. Actually, there wasn’t much difference between the sound the zombies were making and the weird sounds from below ……………… lucky bastards.

It seems to me that some folks would consider this to be similar to the Mile High Club. Now, while I can understand the joys of doing “it” in the fresh air, on a cruise ship, I absolutely cannot understand why anyone would want to have rumpy pumpy in a toilet on a plane. Let’s compare the two, shall we? On a cruise ship, you have had wonderful food and breathed in the extraordinary Alaskan air. On a plane, you have had food that was prepared three days before and it all tastes the same and has the texture of an elephant’s scrotum.

So while I can understand someone being in the mood on a cruise ship, I do not understand how you can be on a plane. Having rumpy pumpy on a plane is something I will never understand and, even if I did and before anyone else says it ……… yes …..yes……….I am too fat to fit.

Anyway, by the time I had finished my cigar and removed my headset, the couple were done and all was peaceful again. But I have to tell you, I have been a bit ummmm…….naughty. You see, I looked on the ship’s plans to see exactly what cabin was right under mine and, tomorrow morning, they will receive some chocolate covered strawberries and champagne and a note that will say:

Dear Cabin 7***

You were both amazing last night. It was the most fun I have had in many years.

Thank you.


Age 91

 Your friend,


Comment Policy

Look, friends — there are a few things you should remember before you comment. The space below is for you to post your comments about the post I've just written above. Now, while I may not be able to reply to your comment below, I do sit in my underpants almost every morning and read everything that is here. So feel free to comment on the comments and then if someone wants to comment on the comment to the comment then go ahead as well. Please be courteous, unless the poster is French...........then you can say whatever you want.

43 Responses to The Balcony Club

  1. Linda Ernst says:

    To Hector Nassari, Chef. Having lived in Michigan most of my life, I was amused when you said you worked in a restaurant in Flint, MI. What would that fine dining establishment be? Popeye’s Chicken? So you didn’t like the melting cake. Ok. Others do. No need to “Yuck other people’s Yum.” And when you start cooking for over hundreds of people during a dinner seating, then by all means, comment. Until then, just stop.

  2. wally smith says:

    Music by Enya, Irish dance songs and love songs, Soft Rock. A mixture is good and play it softly. It dos not have to make the ears ring.

  3. Laurie Slawson says:

    A chef de cuisine at a restaurant in Flint, Michigan? What one, McDonald’s or Burger King? Flint is not known for its haute cuisine.

  4. Christina Erford says:

    I am truly loving your humor. These blogs and Facebook posts really keep me cracking up and excited about our cruise on the Dream August 24th stateroom 9201. Just wondering what happened to my pvp William? ?? He booked our cruise with no problem and even sent exciting emails to a few of my friends to help persuade them to join us….when of each of my friends called to book, he and his extension has totally disapeared. It was a little frustrating for my friend. She did get booked through another pvp. Now I am without a pvp….and saddened…William helped book my hubbies first birthday cruise (In which he got hooked on cruising). Plus someone said that there are incentives when referring people to book a cruise (which I did). Now this will in no way change the fact that I am sure we will have a marvelous time….but it would have been nice to be referred to another pvp to handle my booking and future bookings??? I know in life people move on. (Either willingly or not).

    Thanks for listening John…hope to one day cruise with you….you sound hilarious.

    Happy cruising,
    Christina Erford

  5. Martha says:

    You need some sort of music under the dome. It helps block out others as they chat and such. Why not a mix of easy listening (old, new, pop, country) that is themed toward Alaska and the great outdoors?

  6. janet says:

    What is the difference on a cove balcony and regular balcony that they are discounting it. I normally would not pop for the balcony but it is 40 dollars a day more for the balcony, 3 to the cabin if that matters

  7. Richard McQuillen says:

    Don’t touch your chocolate melting cake. Don’t send anything to cabin 7***. They would complain and think you were watching. I would have looked

  8. Susan Horn says:

    How about some whale songs for the music….it might even attract them to you 😉

  9. Linda (Mom of DJ) says:


    On a few occasions, I have had to “intervene” when foul, violent, vulgar rap was being played over the ship system. Once in the gym, once on Promenade and once in the Casino.

    Now while the gym is 16 or over, the other two places are where children are.

    This is an issue (like smoking) that has to be strictly monitored to make sure there is no exposure to children.

    Carnival very proudly advertises that it is a family cruise line. But that proclamation comes the responsibility to handle the issues that having families on board generate.

    You cannot be exposing children to smoke and rap music; however equally, Carnival has the responsibility to make sure that other guests do not have their vacations ruined by children who are traveling with breeders instead of parents.

    While it is true that is only a small percentage of unsupervised children who reek havoc, when that small percentage is in the cabin next to yours that is of little consultation.

    Carnival just needs to understand that with the great “family” bookings and revenue comes Carnival’s responsibility to understand the problems and find the solutions.

    The other thing about music is volume.

    Louder does not mean better…it just means louder.

    This has been an issue consistently from ship to ship.

    The rule of thumb is that a person should be able to hold a conversation with the person sitting right next to them without shouting.

    Glad you are enjoying Alaska…and it is perfectly acceptable to have no music in the enclosed Lido area…..

    Linda (Mom of your friend DJ)

    • Fern says:

      I’m with you on the volume issue! There’s NO good reason to blare everything! That’s one reason we stay out of the Red Frog at night. The music is just TOO loud! The Piano Bar is more our speed 🙂 !

    • Justin Case says:

      Whoooo, looks like Linda is an authority on cruise ships – I bet there were a lot of kids in the Casino 🙂 – never heard vulgar rap playing on Carnival, but in Alaska I would gladly listen to silence: it’s golden.

  10. Jo Myerly says:

    Thanks John for a good laugh.

  11. Mary Dagostino says:

    Isn’t Montana in the USA, Lucinda?

    You are so funny. Thanks for entertaining me while I can’t be on a ship!!!

    Love you…you’re completely COOL…or maybe BRILLIANT! Or just Brill….


  12. Ken Wilson says:

    John, you finally asked a question that is right in my wheelhouse (baseball expression). I own a DJ company and am a DJ myself. Not the spikey haired, shirtless, Jesus posing kind of DJ you might be visualizing, rather a suit and tie wearing corporate and wedding DJ. Our kind of DJ focuses on creating a musical atmosphere that is unique to each individual celebration. Therefore we must have extensive knowledge of all genres of music, not just the window rattling thumpers.

    I recommend, for this one specific part of your journey, a custom soundtrack designed to enhance the magnificence and wonder that comes from participating in such a once a lifetime event. I am envisioning something along the lines of the Disney soundtrack for California Adventure attraction ‘Soarin’ Over California’. Obviously not that soundtrack itself. I am sure Carnival can afford some studio musicians and a writer to come up with something similar that is mapped to your course. The absolute best would be to video the entire passage you are thinking about and pass that along to a composer who can create a unique experience that is timed to your voyage. You start it at a specific geographic location and it tells the musical story of what you are witnessing as you sail by. I am getting goosebumps just thinking of the impact that will have on guests. Here is a link to the soundtrack you might consider modeling after for your ‘attraction’.

    I would be happy to assist in preparing this Ultimate Alaska Experience for you. I have so many ideas on how to make this experience even better. Your friend, Ken Wilson

  13. Pete Turner says:

    The memories that you stir up… we were on one of your cruise ships with a large group years ago. The leader and girlfriend just happen to have the cabin next two ours. Wouldn’t you know that when we went to sleep each night, we like to prop open our balcony door to hear the waves. About 2:30 AM we woke to the sounds of something besides the waves! I was so afraid she would end up going over the rails before it was over! Do the security people enjoy watching the security cameras late at night? You know, our heads, on the pillow, are only a few feet from the balcony next-door… it was so hard to even look at them during the next group meeting!

  14. Mike P. (Pacek) says:

    John, will you please talk about service dogs that have been on Carnival ships, for what type of
    disabilities, and are dogs allowed anywhere on the ship and off at the ports of call? Does the ship provide for the dog’s meals? Please share some stories (good
    or bad). Thank you.

  15. Amy says:

    Re: music
    What is wrong with a little quiet?
    I get very tired of the need to fill every nook with music and/ or TV. You can’t even go into a restaurant to get away from it.
    If you MUST play something, how about some SOFT jazz?

    • Fern says:

      Just “liking” this post!

    • Cruising Canuck says:

      On this past cruise (Carnival Conquest) I discovered the super quiet, largely deserted deck 3– just off the main lobby. It was like a true oasis. Peaceful, quiet … perfection. No bar, no music, no noise. Just me and the ocean.

  16. Teresa Cooper says:

    What sauce? Warm chocolate melting cake has no sauce. It comes with a side of vanilla ice cream. That guy has no idea what he’s talking about and an over inflated ego. You don’t walk into a restaurant and try to tell the chef you can show him how to do it better. It’s the same with the MDR on a cruise ship. Anyway, it’s the best dessert on the ship. I wish I had some now!

    • Lila says:

      The chocolate melting cake used to have a very rich, runny chocolate sauce. It was what made it so delicious, in my humble opinion. I usually don’t even bother ordering it anymore, as it seems they have changed the recipe. (I used to order it just to see if it was made correctly on each ship, thinking it had just been overcooked.) Hope that helps you understand what he was probably talking about.

  17. Marty says:

    Dear Lucinda, you naughty wench, LOLOL you made my night.

  18. Dollie says:

    DJ Tesh is the best.

  19. Kris says:

    OK…I laughed out loud. I don’t usually ACTUALLY Lol, but I did. Sending a letter to the amorous couple is absolutely genious!

  20. James Morris says:

    I was on the Miracle April 28th to May 7th cruise. Not sure what music you should play on the lido pool deck, but I do know, you should not be playing the background music in the dining room when the “naturalist” is trying to talk about what is ‘going on’ and ‘coming up along side’ the ship ! It is very annoying and made it impossible for me to understand what she was saying ! 🙁

  21. Hector Nassari,

    If your the “chef de cuisine at a top restaurant in Flint, Michigan” then that must be Walli’s. I find the food at TONY’S in Birchrun much better then your swill. Carnival’s WCMC is loved by most guest. So you would most likely just turn it into your usual swill.

  22. Chris Jacobs says:

    Hi John,

    Just wanted to let you know that Montana is part of the USA. I work with a man from Montana, so I know they are special people. Nevertheless, they are Americans!

    Have a great cruise! Love your blog.

  23. Steven Johnson says:

    The chef that wanted to go back inthe kitchen was a little out of line. As a physical therapy professional, L see folks walking with their cane in the wrong hand, or other wrong things, but I am on vacation, anr besides, those canes hurt! Reminds me of a comedian who says he having dinner with his family and his Mom asks him to tell a joke. He says my brother is a gynecologist, I don’t see you hopping on the table asking him to take a look. Best wishes John!

  24. Tanya Ewasiuk says:

    We were so fortunate to have cruised on the inaugural Alaska Mirale cruise this year. April 28. We had the opportunity to meet you at the CD Q & A. My son was inquiring as to why the water slide was closed all cruise. Have you been able to open it for guests that are interested? We factored in the waterslide experience for our active sons when we chose the trip. But were disappointed. Anyway… I am happy to hear that you are doing something about the covered Lido music. I felt terribly sorry for the DJ up there playing to a very unenthusiastic crowd. There really was no need for it. I am glad to hear that you are fine tuning the Alaska experience. Enjoy!

  25. Chris says:

    My wife asked me to plan something different for her 40th birthday ( we usually go to Las Vegas 3-4 times a year). So I did some research and booked a carnival cruise. She said it was the best vacation ever. That was 5 years ago and we’ve booked a carnival cruise every year since. Our last cruise was on the sunshine in April. We felt it was our worst cruise ( yet, c’mon it wasn’t bad!). Customer service seemed to be lacking. So we got home and I researched other cruise lines for next years cruise. After discussing with the decision maker (wife), we’ve decided to stay loyal to carnival. It would feel like we were cheating on you John! Everyone is going to have an “off” day or week and we understand that. 95% of the time, customer service goes above and beyond on carnival. Thank you for everything you do. Thank you for your blog and updates on Facebook.

  26. Shaylie Mahla says:

    I love reading your blog. My dad is taking me on my first cruise in June for my high school graduation present! Cannot wait to be on the Carnival Conquest!!

  27. steves542 says:

    Mark Izod…so friggen sorry you were inconvenienced by the rabble. Perhaps they can carry you next time so you don’t have to stand

    “Chef” You must be from the same mold as Gordon Rmsey, rude and obnoxious. I was a chef once, when I was 16 I worked at McDonalds frying hamburgers but I don’t go to restaraunts demanding to see the kitchen and show them how it’s done.

    Simon Jarrett…Wow, cruise critic has a bad post about Carnival and John ? You didn’t exactly split the atom there champ.

  28. Donna says:

    Dear John,
    that blog was absolutely hilarious, the last paragraph in particular. I am sorry I cancelled our cruise plans to join you on Aug 12 when we were afforded the opportunity because of the itinerary change, but many mitigating circumstances, one of which my husband is permanently in a wheelchair(leg amputee) and I needed you to experience the excursions and then let me know if there are any that he could participate in, like you said walking into town isn’t enough. Alaska is on my bucket list, not his. We did however transfer our booking to join you in Jan for the bloggers cruise, so meeting you is just being postponed, and hopefully Alaska isn’t going anywhere soon. The cruise this summer from Seattle would also have cut into our allotted time in the U.S. as we were driving from Ontario, Canada (because of a power chair)and already do 6 months in Florida. Anyway, long-winded aren’t I… you do a fabulous job of Ambassador, and have many followers. see you soon.

  29. connie newman says:

    As for music on the Alaskan cruise. I vote no. The day we spent at Tracy Arms Fjord in totally silence was almost a religious experience. It was so beautiful you didn’t need any sound but the nature sounds.

  30. Marlane says:

    Earlier you asked about music in certain areas. Sometimes the sound of silence is wonderful. If I am video taping something, I prefer to not have background music. Just a thought. Looking forward to our cruise on the 10th.

  31. Rick Williamson says:

    John, been to Alaska cruising twice with Carnival. I don’t read till its dark in Alaska. I am always watching what’s going on outside the ship. Including on our first cruise in Alaska at dinner when we had a picture window at our table. I have a question for you. When will Carnival start doing the North-South routes again like they did up till about 2009? We are wanting to do the land package as we did the first time. But with family this time. Most likely next year (2015). But if Carnival doesn’t start going N and S again we can’t use Carnival Which is what we would like to do. Can you help us out by letting us know what’s going on? Thank you so much

  32. Elizabeth says:

    NO music would be wonderful. It would be good in the Caribbean too. Or at least turned down. We can have fun on Carnival without painfully loud music blasting.

  33. Margot Haliday Knight says:

    I have spent the day imagining reading on the deck and imagining the music I am listening to. Here are my thoughts–
    I have always loved that Orlando’s airport plays classical music. It is unconsciously soothing in a hectic environment. But not right for a cruise deck
    I think easy listening is too soporific. You want music that doesn’t intrude yet provides a modicum of rhythm and beat.
    Rap, hip-hop is a little too intense for reading.
    You need music that crosses generational boundaries.
    For me, the perfect mix is a blend of country, pop, rock, blues and standards. A mix of the top songs in each genre for the last 40 years. What a mix-tape that would be. A little something for everybody
    And, for Alaska, throw in some novelty songs about snow, gold, sailing, whales, fish, cruising, ice, etc. You could even have cruisers help create a themed playlist as a planned activity. North to Alaska, Heart of Gold, Sailing, anything by Moby, Three Little Fishies, Cold as Ice, vanilla Ice. You get the idea.
    But, yes, please no Carribbean drums on the Alaska cruise.

  34. Charles Smith says:

    Since you have found a way to keep the music down on the Miracle with the dome closed, maybe Carnival can now come up with a way to keep the volume at less than ear bleeding level on the ships with the Giant Screen. Miley Cyrus at 400 decibels is not pleasant at any venue, let alone the Lido Deck.

  35. Rachel says:

    Not that it matters, but I think the link to CC was the wrong one. I think this is the one Simon was referring to:

    The other link was referenced in that thread.

  36. eliminnowp says:

    I would vote for no music at all. Personally I don’t enjoy it when music is piped into public spaces. People often have very personal preferences when it comes to music and you’ll never be able to please everyone, especially if the crowd includes a broad range of ages and backgrounds. Why is a constant soundtrack necessary?
    I guess I would pose this question, which scenario would bother people more: people who like muzak having to hear silence, or people who don’t like the music having to hear it? Does not having background music annoy people? Maybe I’m the weird minority.
    As someone under the age of 40 I am fully prepared to have to listen to a lot of music on our upcoming cruise aimed at an older crowd, and I promise to keep my eye rolls to myself 🙂

  37. Annie says:

    John, we sailed on the Miracle for the week of May 6th and had a fabulous time cruising Alaska! In reference to your question about the music on Lido, I can tell you that no music would have been fine and dandy with us as we were so engrossed with watching everything happening in the water (Starboard side of course-LOL), that there could have been 1000 kazoos playing and we would have simply shot the kazzoers a strange look and kept going. I think perhaps easy light listening music would have been great. I will also say that whenever you or Michelle piped in to speak, we could not understand one iota of what you said. I’m sure we missed some good stuff-or more news about a barnacle on a piece of driftwood…Sorry you miss your daughter-tell her the May 6th sailing says, “Happy Birthday”!! Cheers, Annie

  38. Tanya says:

    Just wanted to say I am looking forward to Alaska in Sept on the Miracle. This will be our second time in Alaska, but our first cruise with Carnival. Hope the music stays, I love all music, but silence is always golden, too. I agree the Caribbean steel drums would not be a good fit. A good mix of all types might be best as that represents the USA and Canada which is where we are visiting. 2 hodge-podge countries with some country thrown in.
    All the best!

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